About my ratings

Perhaps because of my day job, I'm a tough rater. Everything 3/5 and above I consider worth the time and money.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Puzzlewood, Bengal Tiger

412 pieces. Intricate whimsies, some with very delicate extensions (one required gluing) and an underlying pattern that proved plenty challenging. 5/5
Selected whimsies: animals

starting out

starting from the tiger

further assembly


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stave, Daisy Daisy

40 pieces.  Clever little Teaser--I like the ones with no defined borders.  6/10.

Joseph K. Straus, Green Lake

1000 pieces. Large enough to pose a real challenge, with big pieces--the age showed mostly in the smell, though the paper was also getting on. 4/5.
starting out

significant progress with phantom trees


Monday, November 28, 2016

Par Puzzles, Who's High

400 pieces.  As a present to myself, I tried a Par.  Is it wrong to say I think Stave are better?  You can't necessarily tell a line's full strengths from one puzzle, I've learned, and this puzzle was certainly engaging.  But unless I see real bargains, I think I'm going to save my high-end dollars for Stave.  There's some color line cutting, and a lot of nearly single-color areas; I don't think this was down to color fading.  5/10

Starting out

some progress

almost there

BCB Puzzles, Perfume Bottle

135 pieces.  This teaser's structure was harder to put together than the bottles.  The pieces have a good hand feel.  3/5
starting out
the bottle

the full bottle

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Zebras Drinking, Puzzlewood

386 pieces. Hand-cut, with nice curvy pieces that interact with the zebra's stripes for a fun challenge. 5/5 regular scale, 6.5/10 Stave scale.
starting out

much progress


BCB Puzzles, Granny's Attic

150 pieces. About a one-sword Stave level of difficulty. 4/5 regular scale, 5/10 Stave scale--nice pieces, not enough challenge.
Starting out

Frame constructed

all done

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kingsbridge, The Inn

400 pieces.  Vintage puzzle; very similar to Optimago in looseness of pieces. There are even pinholes, as with Optimago--I take it these are the result of pinning several sheets in place so they can all be cut at once?  Thinner wood than Optimago.  Decent, but nothing mindblowing.  3/5
starting out


finished but mysteriously upside down

Sugar Maples, Mr. Z's Puzzles

205 pieces.  Color line cutting increases the challenge.  Ships as a tray puzzle, assembled; I like boxes better, but that's my only complaint about this puzzle, which has a very nice hand feel.  4/5
starting out

close up on sky

color line cutting on the trunk


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bird Mandala, Elm

775 pieces.  Lots of internal color line cutting and repeated images made this one a very nice challenge.  Elm puzzles have a great hand feel, though I think they lack some of the fundamental cleverness of a Stave.  5/5 regular scale, maybe 6.5/10 Stave scale.
starting out

almost accidentally worked inside out


Jigsaw Art by Thom Spencer, glowing woman

About 220 pieces. Nice curvy cuts I think of as coral-style, presenting a challenge to assemble because the lines take a little more imagination to connect up. 4/5
starting out

turns out I assembled the cleavage first

all done

Monday, November 14, 2016

Elm, Poinsettia Wreath

710 pieces.  This was not kidding around in terms of difficulty--a lot of internal cutouts, plus obviously repeating colors and shapes. 7/10, Stave scale.
starting out

progress (restored after the puzzle was moved for a party)


Stave tidbit, Fall 2016

Approx. 30 pieces. Cute picture with nice bird color line cutting.
The beginning

The end

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Railway Station, William Powell Frith, Optimago

600 pieces.  Another puzzle with an unusual shape and some challenging dark areas. 4/5
starting out

progress! which I guess is the theme of the painting, too

All done

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Arbour, Emanuel Phillip Fox, Optimago

500 pieces.  Fine specimen of Optimago: loose pieces, delicate colors; details emerge only when the puzzle is assembled.  3/5.
starting out


A Plethora of Cats, Dr. Seuss, Liberty

545 pieces.  I think this might be the best Liberty I've done, certainly the best with standard pieces (instead of Nautilus or Butterflies by Alex Beard, which have unusual repeating patterns).  Partly this is about the visual interest of the picture, but also the pieces had a bit more complexity than the usual Liberty, not just with the Seussian whimsies but also scattered throughout.  For example, there are a few multi-piece constructions; I don't even know what all of them are.  And there are two multi-piece cats--or almost; there's almost a full outline of a cat and then it kind of melts into the rest of the puzzle, which feels thematically appropriate.  5/5

starting out

closeup on some of the Seussian whimsies

partially complete

closeup on the cat near-outlien